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UN/CEFACT releases new eInvoice Standard to enhance links between business and financial supply chains

Published: 15 October 2009


The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has just approved the Cross Industry Invoice (CII) Version 2.0 standard to enhance links between the business and financial supply chains and enable cross-industry and cross-domain interoperability. This common global standard is based on a set of business requirements from different industries and stakeholders in both the private and public sectors.

The CII, which is an electronic document exchanged globally between trading partners with a prime function as a request for payment, is an important accounting document and has potential legal implications for sender and receiver. It is also typically used as the key document for Value Added Tax (VAT) declaration and reclamation, for statistics declarations, and to support export and import declarations in respect of international trade.

The CII addresses the strong business need for large scale implementation of eInvoicing, in particular, offering valuable assistance for business and governments in exchanging structured data. It has international application and also supports the requirements of the European Commission Expert Group on eInvoicing. It will be complemented by a series of additional UN/CEFACT standards covering core supply chain processes including Quotation, Scheduling, Catalogue, Ordering and Despatch Advice.

The release of the second generation of the Cross Industry Invoice, together with ongoing work within the UN/CEFACT Forum, was welcomed by the CEN/ISSS Workshop/BII (European Committee for Standardization Information Society Standardization System Workshop on Business Interoperability Interfaces on public procurement in Europe) as it allows them to move forward with their work on Implementation Verification of key business documents for use in procurement within Europe.

The above work was finalized on September 30th at the UN/CEFACT Forum in Sapporo Japan, attended by over 200 experts from over 30 countries.

The CII Schema is available from the UNECE website at: www.unece.org/uncefact/data/standard/CrossIndustryInvoice_1p0.xsd

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) elaborates norms, standards and conventions in the economic field to facilitate international cooperation within and outside the region.  Because trade facilitation and the simplification of other commercial and governmental business processes, including through the use of electronic business standards, are vital factors in the development of world trade, the UNECE has undertaken work in these areas since the 1960s. Then, in 1997, to further improve worldwide coordination and cooperation in these areas, the UNECE established the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) as one of its working parties.   Participation in UN/CEFACT is open to all UN Member States, Intergovernmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that have been recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

UN/CEFACT’s motto is, “Simple, transparent and effective processes for global business.” To achieve this goal it supports activities dedicated to improving the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations, from developed, developing and transition economies, to exchange products and relevant services effectively.  Its principal focus is on facilitating national and international transactions, through the simplification and harmonisation of processes, procedures and information flows, and so contributing to the growth of global commerce.  UN/CEFACT has established a large number of trade facilitation and electronic business standards or recommendations and is now drawing up the next generation of such tools. Further information about these standards and recommendations can be found at: http://www.unece.org/cefact/

For further information please contact:

Ms. Natascha Pottier


UN/CEFACT International Trade and Business Processes

Group (TBG)

E-mail: natascha.pottier@gs1fr.org

Phone: + 33 559 933 561

Mr. Tauno Kangur

Global Trade Solutions Branch

UNECE Trade and Timber Division

E-mail: tauno.kangur@unece.org

Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 1474

Ref: ECE/TRADE/09/P08

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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